“Seedlings of life sometimes come out of the fertiliser of what was left behind.”
― Gillian Duce, Nuada
There are days when the writing inspires a photograph, and others when the opposite is true. As is often the case lately, I head towards the station at the crack of dawn without a clue what to write about, or worse, there is so much turmoil within me, I don’t know where to even begin unravelling it all. I suppose what is what inspiration is all about, it just hits me the moment I sit at the keyboard and let the flow happen.
Whereas I love living all the way out in Vila Franca de Xira, and so far away from the office, there are undeniable disadvantages. When I reach home, for example, most of the shops are closed already and I never get any errands done in the evenings, unless it is something I can pick up at the little Nepali suppermarket near the station. Yesterday was another moment that drove home the point. My daughter shipped my summer wardrobe weeks ago and it somehow took much longer than the estimated eight to twelves days that DHL Germany told her. It somehow got caught up in the Portuguese customs, so suffice it to say that it is well over three weeks!
My landlady informed me that a package had arrived for me but it was delivered to a DHL drop-off point in the village. In typical Portuguese laid back style, I was sent a picture of the store and the name of the street, and not the address, which is what a German would have done. Well gosh darn it, it is a good thing that Vila Franca is such small place because I walked up one direction from the train station, but didn’t find said shop, and retraced my steps to walk all the way to the other side of the village. The silver lining in all this was that I found the Asian supermarket, the Brazilian supermaket, the sushi bar, a ridiculous amount of cafes and gelaterias, and finally, half an hour later, the elusive shop which was, as expected, closed for the day. Grrrrr. After weeks of anticipation, it was such a disappointment to stand in front of the closed doors. I just wanted to sit in a corner and throw a royal tantrum.
This frustration and disappointment was the culmination of a long and difficult work day, so I resorted to my favourite way of drowning my sorrows – pizza! It’s truly a blessing I live above the pizzeria, and although I only eat it twice a month, (which is probably twice too much), yesterday called for it. I’m a glutton for punishment sometimes, and instead of watching something uplifting on Netflix to keep me company during dinner, I went down another rabbit hole ba way of a Netflix original series that I began this weekend: I Am A Killer. In my mind I decided to name this secondary research, to simply justify the madness.
The shot of the day is actually what inspired these spiralling thoughts. I was disappointed to find a cloudy day when I stepped out of the apartment this morning, and kept my eyes open for sources of inspiration. Then I stumbled on this:
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, it is a bicycle parking rack, but I loved the form and the shadows. It reminds me that much as I feel I have emerged from the tunnel of trouble, there are remnants of that turbulent period that haven’t quite vanished, insecurities that haunt me and cause me to spiral into a dark place when I least expect it. I am strong enough to be equipped with the mental and emotional brakes now, but some days are more difficult than others, no matter how much I remind myself that I am finally in a place I want to be, a country that has embraced me to the point of restitution, some shadows remain, if only to highlight the light.
Chaos will always be my faithful shadow, but when I look at the photograph, I know that the seedlings of my new life will be nourished and strengthened by the lessons learned from the life I left behind. Tragedies and traumas as life fertilizers, who knew I would be sitting in a cafe in Lisbon philosophising about this?!